Council downplays call to demolish tidal pools

Wollongong City Council has rejected the findings of a consultant's report that declared four tidal pools between Stanwell Park and Wollongong should be demolished.

A 2009 audit of council pools conducted by Geoff Ninnes Fong and Partners, made public this week, warned the existing pool structures at Bellambi, Coledale, Gentlemen's (between Continental and the North Beach Bathers' Pavilion) and Towradgi had "deteriorated beyond economic repair consideration and capability" and should be demolished.

"All the pools currently present great potential legal risk for the council in terms of hazards due to cracking, tripping and general dangerous degradation," it said.

MORE: City losing $3.5m a year on public pools

"If public opinion desires pools in these locations, then new pools should be constructed in the old positions."

The firm estimated the cost of replacing the four pools in 2009 was $5.1 million.

However, the council moved to downplay the report yesterday, saying it was only a visual assessment of the pools.

"The consultant has done it [the report] on an observational basis," the council's recreational services manager, Mark Bond, said. "This work did not include a comprehensive structural assessment."

Mr Bond said while upgrades at Bellambi and Coledale rock pools had already been scheduled into the council's 2009-10 and 2010-11 budgets, the consultant's recommendations did prompt the council to act at the time.

"[The 2009 report] triggered council to do a more detailed assessment of its rock pools in 2010," he said.

The Mercury requested a copy of the 2010 report but it was not provided.

Mr Bond was unable to provide details of the findings, only saying the council's assessment led to the expansion of planned works at Bellambi and Coledale.

The council also set out a five-year funding program for rock pool upgrades.

Mr Bond said the pools were safe and were regularly checked.

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